Music and sound effects are key to a great gaming experience. Gaming headsets are a little more specialized than typical headphones and having the right pair of gaming headphones can help improve your overall time spent gaming. The best gaming headphones are comfortable, sound good, and have a decent microphone. They also usually have dedicated software support, lots of active features, and have customization options. However, specialized gaming headsets can be quite bulky and the wireless models are often limited by the range of their transmitter. If you don’t need a microphone, then most wired, critical listening headphones would be a good option too.
So far, we've reviewed over 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy. Also see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best gaming headset we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These premium headphones come with a wireless transmitter, offering you more ways to interact with your audio while you game.
This wireless transmitter is great for those who like to mix console and mobile audio as they go. It can charge one of the two swappable batteries while you play and as each battery has over 15 hours of continuous life, you won't have to worry about your headphones dying during a 1v1. The headphones themselves also produce a very well-balanced, neutral audio, making them good for both epic gaming soundtracks and your music. If you need more control over your audio, the SteelSeries Engine desktop app offers a graphic EQ and DTS surround sound.
On the downside, their comfortable and unique ski-band headband might not fit properly each time you wear it, which could mean that you might not get the same consistent audio each time you wear them. The headband is also only adjustable to a certain extent - if you have a large head or thick hair, then you might not be able to get a good fit. However, these are exceptional headphones that both casual and pro gamers will enjoy thanks to their thoughtful features and customizability.
If you like to customize your headphones' sound profile to better suit your own needs, get the Logitech G933. They don't feel as durable as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and their microphone isn't as good, but they provide more customization through the Logitech G HUB app. The app is one of the most comprehensive we've seen to date, providing an excellent parametric equalizer, mic and surround sound settings, as well as different sound profiles. The newer Logitech G935 Wireless Gaming Headset sound better out-of-the-box, but their provided audio cable doesn't include an in-line remote if you want to use the headphones with your smartphone on-the-go.
Get the SteelSeries if you prefer a more feature-packed, premium design, but if customization is what matters most for you, then you’ll want to go for the Logitech.
The best wired gaming headset we've tested so far is the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019. Coming with a MixAmp, you'll be able to customize your sound experience on the fly without worrying about battery life.
Their comfortable, spacious design is great for long gaming sessions, while the unique MixAmp can help you enhance your audio cues as you play. It offers a dedicated channel mixing volume knob as well as buttons for toggling different EQ presets. Those who need to communicate closely with their teammates will appreciate the boom microphone: you won't have any problems being understood whether you're playing at home or gaming tournaments. Console gamers can also pick up PS4 or Xbox One compatible variants, but PC users will be able to use either variant.
Where they lack is in noise isolation. Open-back headphones aren't really designed to be used in loud environments, so if you're a pro gamer surrounded by cheering fans, could be difficult to hear your audio. The treble is also weak and uneven, which some gamers might not like. However, you can use the Astro Command Center to design your EQ or use a preset to find the right mix. Regardless, if you're looking for a pair of reliable headphones, this wired headset is a solid, unique pick.
If you're looking for one of the best wired gaming headsets, like the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, and want to save a bit of money, then go with the Logitech G433. These gaming headphones might not come with a dedicated app that offers many features, but they come with multiple accessories, making them a bit more versatile. You get extra pads, a carrying pouch, and a few extra cables in the box. One of the cables even has a typical in-line remote that's mobile-friendly, meaning you can use your headphones easily with your phone. They also sound accurate and well-balanced, on top of being comfortable for long gaming sessions. When gaming on a PC, you can use the USB adapter to get access to G HUB. These headphones also have a better microphone. However, note that their porous pads don't isolate very well against ambient noise and might be a bit leaky for some.
Overall, if you need a headset with tons of features and easy access to volume controls, go with the Astro. For a less expensive pair that can be used as your daily driver, the Logitech are far more versatile.
The best gaming headset for Xbox One that we've tested so far is the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. These headphones offer a base station with multiple inputs, allowing you to choose the best connectivity to maximize your gaming experience.
These are comfortable headphones; their headband distributes weight well while their ear cups feel plush against the skin, making them suitable for long gaming sessions. Sound is also well-balanced and accurate. When you're shot-calling to your teammates, the microphone does a great job making your voice clear while separating background noise. If you're stuck in even the most time-consuming of boss battles, over 17 hours of battery life should be enough juice to make it to the end. If not, the dock is also a charge station, making it easy to refill the battery while you take a break.
Unfortunately, these headphones can't be used with an audio cable. If you're charging them with the micro USB, however, you can still use them wirelessly, extending your gaming time. With their specialized features for Xbox, these headphones are a good choice for those who are looking for gaming headphones to use specifically with this console.
The best budget gaming headset we’ve tested so far is the Corsair HS60. These are well-built and sleek headphones that are an affordable option for those who don't want to sacrifice quality for price.
Their sturdy, metal frame and minimalist design make them stylish to wear both in and out of the house. Their spacious ear cups and headband are well-padded, making them comfortable to wear for extended periods. As this is an entry-level gaming headset, their controls are simple, with a volume dial and a mic-mute button on the left cup. Generally well-balanced, they have decent sound reproduction. You'll also still be understandable in group chat with their detachable boom microphone, although it's nothing to write home about. If you want more customization, the Corsair Utility Engine (iCUE) offers a graphic EQ and mic control - good features if you're gaming on PC.
While the version we tested is slightly more expensive, you can purchase the newer Corsair HS60 V2 Pro for less. We expect that they'll perform similarly, although we haven't tested them yet. If you like to play in the midst of loud gaming conventions, you'll also find that these headphones don't really isolate or block out much noise. Still, with impressive build quality and overall performance, the Corsair HS60 are one of the best budget gaming headsets so far.
If you play multiplayer games and need something with a great microphone but don't want to break the bank, get the HyperX Cloud Stinger. They feel cheaper than the Corsair HS60, but their boom mic performs much better and does an excellent job at cutting out background noise, so other players should still hear you. While they sound good out-of-the-box, unfortunately they don't offer companion software to allow you to customize the sound profile. They have a standard 1/8" TRRS connection that can plug into any console controller or directly into a PC.
Get the Corsair if you're looking for a more premium-feeling gaming headset with a customizable sound profile, but if you play a lot of multiplayer games and want an amazing and clear-sounding microphone, go with the HyperX.
03/20/2020: Minor text and structure changes. No change in recommendations.
02/21/2020: Replaced SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless with Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. Updated price discrepancy for Corsair HS60. Minor changes to text and structural changes.
01/21/2020: Removed 'Best Home Theater Alternative', 'Best Earbuds for Gaming'. The Arctis Pro GameDAC is now mentioned with the Arctis Pro Wireless text instead of being a selection on its own.
12/20/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
10/25/2019: Replaced Astro A50 with Astro A50 Gen 4 2019.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for gaming. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.